The Garden Box by Marsha Papay Gomola

Best of Show – Jean Taggart Award
1st Place Professional Original
The Academy Heart – Jody Adams Award

One of the most popular themes in historic and contemporary needlework is the garden. Historic pieces frequently had elaborate gardens that included water features, orchards, flowers, birds, animals, and insects. Contemporary work includes examples of elaborate knot gardens and wonderful walled formal gardens.

I enjoy designing interesting boxes that include an interesting interior. I believe every side of a box should have a design. I decided to create a walled garden box. The exterior panels of the box are the garden walls with plantings along the wall. The interior of the box is the garden.

I was inspired by a book of traditional ironwork designs to design an iron gate. In the past, I have used blackwork for gates. For this model I designed a gate that is dimensional. Instead of flat blackwork the gate is completed with surface stitches that have a little padding. Part of the gate is accented with pearl purl and metallic.

The garden is layered over the fence and gate.

The exterior front of the box is the formal entrance to the garden. I decorated the sides of the gate with potted topiary and a tree. The potted plants are completed with padding and slips that are appliquéd over the padding.

The boxes exterior sides and back are decorated with the fence and the flower beds in front of the fence. Perched on the fence are birds and butterflies.

When the box is open, the informal garden appears. I finished the box so that the top lifts up and the front folds down revealing the garden.

I decorated the garden with animals and birds. A cat is sleeping on the patio and a rabbit is eating in the grass. I used my cat as a model for the box.

I wanted the top of the box to be a continuation of the garden. When the top is closed, the exterior panel design is a bird’s eye view of the tops of the trees. A bird is landing in the tree. I created the tree using blackwork combined with detached leaves.

When the top is open the interior top panel becomes the sky. Again, I used blackwork to create the blue sky and added a flying robin for interest.